Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Odds and Ends

As November is coming to a close, I am amazed at how fast this month has gone by! It seems it just began. I hope December is quick as well- I enjoy when time goes by fast because that typically means I am busy, happy, or at least forget the bad stuff that has happened because it’s gone so fast:).
 
Here are some odds and ends to update you on:
 
  1. Coffee. It’s official. I like coffee. I began drinking iced coffee with soy milk and Truvia all-natural sweetener last spring and that was my gateway drink to hot coffee. I still do not need to drink it to wake up, but I do enjoy a cup every few days or so. I hope I don’t become dependent on it though! But my Starbucks trips are more frequent- just last night I read, did some holiday cards and enjoyed the ambianceJ. It was a perfect Monday night.
  2. Vegetarianism. It seems my vegetarianism is still a hot topic of conversation, and not all my friends know about it yet even though it has been 5 months. It has been going very well, and I still do not miss meat at all. The only roadblock I have is when going to people’s houses or going out to eat- even when I try to be vegetarian, it turns out something has chicken stalk or there are only meat options. So I have occasionally had shrimp, but that has only been about 3 times. As far as the Veganism, I do not buy anything with ANY animal products in it, but I do not eat 100% vegan due to eating out/at other people’s houses. I would still say 75% of the time I am. I also rocked Thanksgiving this year by enjoying all the delicious sides and no turkey. Didn’t miss it! AND I have not had so much as a cold in 5 months, so whether that is from not consuming many animal products or not, I don’t know…but I think it is related. I also need less sleep than before...correlations maybe?
  3. Revenge. No not on you- it is my new favorite show! It’s on at 10 PM on Wednesday’s, but you can be like me and watch it on hulu on Thursdays. It’s awesome and fun. Do it.
  4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This book is awesome and I highly recommend it. It is about the cells used to cure diseases and the woman who they came from. It’s scientific but not overly so and has a great story. Read it!
  5. The Holiday’s. This is my first year sending out masses of handwritten cards. It’s more work than I thought, but more personal than a Holiday Newsletter (which I did create and might use next year- don’t worry it is funny). I hope people enjoy my hard work and huge handwriting! I also have holiday music on a loop in my office everyday to get me into the spirit these 3 weeks before winter break!


Caught red handed reading, drinking wine, and waiting for my sweet potatoes to boil on Thanksgiving! Also, the first year I stayed in my sweats the whole day- loved it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful

I am mostly thankful in life for the small things, like....

....waking up refreshed, a good run, a schedule, my TV shows, carpooling to work with my coworker/neighbor, my office, being able to save money, eating at new restaurants, seasons, good hair days, reading at Starbucks, when my kitties are playful, traveling, college football, clear skies, sunsets, the smell of fall or spring, a good laugh, a deep read, a motivational speaker, pandora playing the right song for my mood, old appliances that still work, dark chocolate at work, health (whatever that means) and love.

Happy Thanksgiving. May you give your thanks to all the small things that make up this big life.


And GO HOOS (beat the Hokies)!!!
Check out that awesome UVA turkey- smart kid:)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meaningfulness

I think that everyone, in some way, is always searching or working towards giving their life meaning. Is a meaningful life one where you start a family? Have a successful job? Are physically fit? Make a difference in volunteering? Work with the less fortunate? Set goals and reach them? Are able to support and take care of yourself?

A meaningful life differs at every stage. When you're a child you rarely think about the meaning of it all, but most often it's about school and friends and having fun. For adults, meaningful existence fluctuates and differs from one person to another and from one part of life to another. Right now, I am measuring my success and meaning by my ability to live independently, my success in my job, and being healthy. Obviously, if I had a family or was still in school, my reference of meaning would probably be different.

But I think most people would agree that taking care of yourself is one of the main indicators of a successful life. Sitting on your couch all day, not being able to work and pay bills, and rarely interacting with people is not what most people would call a life. Yet, I think we rarely stop and think, what if that was all we could do? What, then, would be our meaning?

Part of my job is attending Child Study, IEP or Triennial meetings for students receiving special education services. My school has a fairly large MO/MIMD (Moderate or Mild Mental Disabilities) population, so I attend those meetings as well. This morning I was in a meeting about a student who cannot speak, walk, or use manly of her muscles freely- she communicates by using a technological device that has key words and phrases she has been taught to cue up when appropriate. Her life is confined to a chair with limited communication. I sat there and couldn't help but think that life and success is so much more than what meets the eye or what we normally think.

This student is a pleasant to be around. She smiles, is very social, has friends and delights everyone she meets. But by our standards of success and meaningfulness, she will never really have a life of either. She will always be in need of a caretaker, will never be able to live independently or "normally," will never have a job, and will constantly be functioning at a level years and even decades below her age. She will exist and breath and live, but yet her lifestyle will be what some consider not as worthy.

So what is a meaningful life then? Many would argue that she does not have one, but I see it differently. I see her as a reason that we all need to reevaluate about why we're here and what it means to live. It is not always based on tangential things. It is about relationships and happiness and what runs deeper inside ourselves. This student is happier that most people I know, yet is seen as less of a person by some people. Maybe happiness is what is most important regardless of any other life factors. So on days when I am stressing about work or money or my lifestyle or my looks or how far I ran that day, maybe I need to be reminded that meaningfulness is about so much more.

I think many people do.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Richmond Race Day

 
This morning was a big day for Richmond. Three races went on simultaneously- The HCA 8k, McDonalds Half-Marathon and the Suntrust Richmond Marathon. All three races started within an hour of one another and at the same starting line with even a few areas of overlap on the courses. It was a cold, but beautiful fall day. I participated in the 8k, which started at 7 am (a bit early for my tastes on a Saturday morning), and I completed the race with a personal record of 43 minutes and 50 seconds. My mile pace was about 8 minutes and 53 seconds, which is about what I averaged during the 10k I ran last spring. Seems I have a pretty set pace in my running!

This was the first race I have ever run completely by myself. I had friends doing it, but I was running solo without friends or family nearby or riding with me. I enjoyed it, but what I really enjoyed was watching the marathoners after I finished. I was able to go back to the starting line to watch the marathoners start after I finished my race, and my apartment is near the course, so I was able to shower and rest and go back out near mile 19 to cheer on the runners. It was VERY fun, and I even made some friends from the spectators. I also saw 6 friends along the route.

What amazed me about the marathoners was their attitude. Even at mile 19, they were smiling, cracking jokes, thanking spectators and policemen, and chatting with their running neighbors. They were having fun (or at least looked like it) and enjoying their accomplishments thus far. It was a really great and motivational thing to see. I still think people are crazy to run a marathon (training alone takes up so much time and it kills your body), but it did inspire me even more with my running. I may be inspired enough to do the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in March.

But just maybe:).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Magazine Monday (Kinda)

My magazine Monday today is not 100% legit since I am not answering a magazine’s questions per say, but instead I am pretending I am a television critic for Entertainment Weekly and am giving you my current TV obsessions (new and old). Isn’t this fun?
In order of night, here are my favorite shows of the 2011-2012 season:
 
1. Once Upon a Time (Sunday’s, ABC, 8 PM): This show is from the creator/writers of LOST, so obviously you know it’s going to be complicated and different than your average show. It is hard to explain, but I will say is it about Fairytale World and Our World (Storybrook, Maine) and how the characters/worlds collide. It goes back and forth between both so you see how these characters were connected and what happened to get them where they are now. Lots of good shout outs and hidden symbols to famous fairy tales. 

2. Glee (Tuesday’s, FOX, 8 PM): Glee has never been as good as it was the 1st season, but I still feel like I need to give it a fair shot. It is still a bit wishy-washy, but I have enjoyed some episodes and musical numbers. Rachel Berry does drive me crazy now, though. 

3. New Girl (Tuesday’s, FOX, 9 PM):  Love me some Zooey Deschanel. She is just adorable, and I think this show is fun and doesn’t take itself very seriously, which makes it more enjoyable to watch. The dynamic of one girl and three guys is always fun too- the last episode was about her walking into her roommate’s room to find him naked and how she can’t say what part she saw unless in a funny accent or singing (you have to watch a clip of it to appreciate it).

  
4. Parenthood (Tuesday’s, NBC, 10 PM): I always have to watch this show on demand because I can never stay up late enough to watch it all, but I enjoy how it is a very realistic portrayal of family life and the trials. It is dramatic, but it’s a nice change of pace from other  dramas (it’s story lines are not as out there as some other family dramas, so I like that aspect of it). And HELLO Lauren Graham. Love her (Yay, Gilmore Girls)!

5. Happy Endings (Wednesday’s, ABC 9:30 PM): I got into this show at the end of last season and I LOVE IT. It is a contemporary Friends with great characters that are laugh out loud funny. I want to be friends with all of them. Sometimes I like to pretend my life is as cool and hysterical as theirs, but I ultimately fail, so that’s why I have to watch it every week! 

6. American Horror Story (Wednesday’s, FX, 10 PM). OMG. This show is CREEPY and I LOVE it. It’s the craziest thing I have ever seen on TV. A husband, wife and their daughter have moved into a haunted house and cannot sell it, so they are stuck living with ghosts and other-worldy creatures. You don’t know what’s real and what’s not, nor what is going on. It’s absolutely fabulous. I cannot watch it by myself at night- it’s that crazy/creepy. 

7. Bones (Thursday’s, FOX, 9 PM): Obviously, this show has been my favorite show for the past 3 years, and I still absolutely love it. Now that the leads are together (Booth and Bones all the way!), a whole new batch of goodness is brought to the table! Because let’s be honest, we don’t really watch Bones for the crimes- we watch it for the characters and there is some juicy development this year! Definitely impressive for a show in it’s 7th season- I love it just as much as the 1st. Moonlighting curse be damned! 



8. Friday Night Lights (My DVD): I am currently in the process of watching season 3 on DVD. I enjoy the show, but I do find some of the story lines a bit over the top. However, I do like the realism of it (things aren’t made ”pretty” like they are for many shows) and since I work in a high school, it is very relevant.


And that’s my list! I also casually watch Up All Night and Modern Family. What are your currents TV favs?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I'm Not in College Anymore

My roommates and I had our second party at our apartment last night. We are all so rarely home on weekends together that whenever we are, we try to plan a get together. This one was a celebration of birthday's, new jobs and job milestones. We never have any idea how many people will come, so it was a surprise for all of us when A LOT of people came last night (like, we didn't have enough beverages and not a drop is left). And I got really excited. Let's just say that in my excitement I was given a great reminder that I am not in college anymore.



But what a fun night!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Inspiration?

Different things inspire different people. I was walking home after a movie at the Byrd Theater in Carytown last night and I felt inspired. There was nothing out of the ordinary of my day yesterday, but my mood was upbeat and life was good. I had a spring in my step and all the normal annoyances just rolled off my shoulder. During the final credits of the movie (and during the movie) I just felt inspiration. To do what? I don't know. I just felt it.

This got me thinking about how important inspiration is in people's life. Whether it's your job, a hobby, a good book, a good movie, a quote, nature or music, feeling inspired is what I think keeps us moving. If we never felt it, what would keep moving through life with optimism, hope, dedication and happiness? Ispiration is key.

So my question to you is: What keeps you inspired? I get inspired mostly by music, a beautiful day and a good story (whether in a book or a movie or a show). And when I am inspired, it is just enough to keep me moving towards the next event with a little extra umph (or at least in a randomly insightful, good mood).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Crazy Dream

A crazy dream I had this week-

I was living with the Kardashians. We were all going on a trip to Europe (I am best buds with Rob, btw). It was more like a massive ship than an airplane, but whatever. George Clooney was our captain. About 30 minutes into the flight we take a massive turn…then we are proceeding to land on a ROAD that in 100 feet goes into a tunnel under water (like I-95 near Norfolk before the tunnel). We do not make it down fast enough so Captain Clooney has to shift us upward suddenly (this happened to my gma once). Then we proceed to land in the water, but again, apparently a water landing is not sufficient (or something goes wrong in the planned water landing…(where’s Captain Sulley when you need him)…) and we shift upwards again. My part of the plane falls off (cue LOST reference), and I land in the water. The rest of the plane lands on a poll above the Washington Monument?!

I then find myself in a recouping house where the survivors are. All my principals and assistant principals are there (and some random friends…hey at least some reality is in this). I can’t call home because I do not have the “code” that goes onto my phone number. I also can’t type correctly because the numbers are not in a correct order. My parents are also not looking for me (somehow even though I can't get in touch with them I see that they are not worried). More survivors keep coming. There is news about the crash on TV but for some reason we can’t connect with anyone in the outside world (how we got to this house is beyond me…and I am totally dry). I can’t find my house where my parent's are because even though we crashed in Washington, I am now in my old neighborhood, Colonial Hills, in Worthington, Ohio. BUT I can’t find anyone I know because people I knew have moved and I don’t know any numbers nor any new addresses. Then I proceed to go to a concert with my friend since I can’t find my parents (again, real life reference, friends were at a concert this weekend). Only some of the Kardashians made it, and I don’t think Kim or her new (former) hubby Kris were included, though baby Mason was ok and is so presh.

Whew! Talk about a pop culture dream, ‘eh? Also, I dreamt this Sunday night and Kim K filed for divorce the next day...psychic? Maybe.